As we draw closer to the Rugby World Cup in Japan, much light has been shed on the All Blacks and their would-be prospects of winning the cup.
Though some will disagree, for Malaysian fans the All Blacks are a team that most would put their money on as the World Cup gets underway.
Sure, some will pool their money on England, Australia and France, but the common Malaysian will most probably will be rooting for the Kiwis – especially when they boast an 89% win record since the 2011 edition of the Web Ellis Cup.
But the All Blacks are not at all invincible. In 2007 they lost their Quarterfinal bout with France, in 2003 lost to arch-rivals Australia in the semi-finals and in 1999 losing out to the French in the semis – though those losses will not take away their legendary status in the World Cup it does put a sort of dark cloud on the favourite status borne by the All Blacks at every World Cup showing thus far.
Bad luck aside, this article will instead focus on why the All Blacks are so good, because an 89% win percentage is definitely something a team should be impressed about.
? All Blacks are Constantly Evolving
According to All Blacks star Jerome Kaino, the style of play adopted by the All Black changes from year to year. Player roles have also changed – lock forwards are no longer required to just carrying the ball and cleaning rucks but are expected to catch-pass.
An All Black forward today, for example, work on their acceleration, footwork, evasion skills and catch-pass.
? Rugby Intelligence
A huge part that keeps the All Blacks ticking is the rugby intelligence instilled is the team’s huge emphasis on how players react and execute their skills under pressure.
From school to semi-professional players in the sport, a lot of effort is given on visualization sessions intertwined with skills work – and understanding this have led teams like Ireland, Wales Georgia and Malaysia hiring bosses and coaches with All Blacks pedigree.
Another unique trait shared by members of the Super Rugby league is also astounding whereby a sharing of knowledge happens amongst competing teams – aiding the national set up in the process.
? Psyching Others Out
The All Blacks’ capability of taking constructive criticism and use it to shape their next move is a trait that allows them to move past errors, obstacles and most importantly attacks.
Players today are not only subjected to the physical and mental attacks on the field but also off it.
Some may choose to ignore it, but developing a methodology to accept and adapt by staying in the now.
The All Blacks operated not as one blanket framework where everyone is the same, but rather understands how individuals work and understand how to help the process pressure in their own way.
It not only helps them to focus, but helps them bounce back into the game.
? They Have The Best Athletes
When it comes to rugby, the sport monopolizes over every other sport in New Zealand – meaning that rugby is #1.
Attributing New Zealand’s athletic heritage to the outdoor culture of its youth, most rugby players are masters of other sports rather than exclusively on rugby.
SBW is a master of boxing; and many others like him are also masters of other sports which is key to the evolution of rugby and its players.
? Team First
Every Kiwi at the elite level has the team’s best interest at heart.
Putting the team first, above any individual goals can be seen when all of its members play a big part in making the All Blacks what it is – The best in the world.
Understanding the All Blacks and what makes them tick, draws comparison of what we have on our shores. Though skill or physicality may lack in some of our players, looking at the five items in the above, it is the spirit that make the All Blacks who they are in rugby.